The NBA Draft is still a ways away, but the deadline for underclassmen to withdraw their names from the draft is just three days from now. While we don't know what Terrence Jones, Brandon Knight, and DeAndre Liggins will ultimately decide, their draft projections are a good indicator of the likelihood of them staying in the draft.
Right now, it appears that Brandon Knight is trending up and could even possibly be the second point guard taken, behind Kyrie Irving and ahead of Kemba Walker. Terrence Jones looks like a late lottery pick that will be measured against Tristan Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, and the Morris twins. If both of them stay in the draft, Kentucky will likely have 3 players selected in the first round lottery, after one includes Enes Kanter.
DeAndre Liggins, along with senior Josh Harrellson, are battling for draft spots in the second round. There has been no discussion of Liggins as a first round pick, so if he stays in the draft, it will likely be because of his age and desire to start earning an income.
After the jump, check out the latest first round projections for Kanter, Knight, and Jones.
Chad Ford, ESPN: #3 to Toronto
Bryan Colangelo has a thing for international players. But that's not the only reason we have Kanter going No. 3. Going into the season, a number of scouts considered him a potential No. 1 pick. Thanks to the NCAA, we never got to see whether he could earn it -- but Kanter has a lot going for him.
He is tough, can play inside and out, rebounds the basketball, and has a higher basketball IQ than most of the kids his age. He's a bit undersized for a center, but his toughness in the paint will be a welcome contrast to Andrea Bargnani's Charmin-soft game.
Tom Ziller, SB Nation: #4 to Washington
Kanter played even less than Daniel Orton, which is an impressive feat made possible only by the NCAA's iron fist. The Turkish big man made his name in the United States a year ago at Hoop Summit, and given Washington's frontcourt question marks -- is JaVale McGee a part of this new core, or not? -- he could be a good fit.
Draft Express: #7 to Detroit
NBADraft.net: #3 to Toronto
Chad Ford, ESPN: #6 to Utah
The Jazz acquired this pick in their February trade-deadline deal with the Nets. They lost their All-Star point guard Deron Williams in the deal but picked up this pick, Derrick Favors and Devin Harris in return. The Jazz like Harris but see Knight as a potential franchise player down the road.
Knight's freshman season was up and down, but he has a few qualities that make him a terrific fit in Utah. He is big, plays defense, shoots the ball well, and is a great kid on and off the court. He should be a perfect fit with the Jazz.
Tom Ziller, SB Nation: #7 to Detroit
Knight may have been the only player who moved into the lottery during the NCAA Tournament, thanks to some timely makes and ... well, to be honest, thanks to everyone else pulling out. Detroit's entire roster is a mystery, but point guard is particularly curious. I mean, Tracy McGrady played there over Rodney Stuckey. Am I supposed to figure out what that means?
Draft Express: #5 to Sacramento
NBADraft.net: #5 to Sacramento
Chad Ford, ESPN: #11 to Golden State
I'm not sure Jones is the answer here. He struggled in the second half of the season, and many scouts wonder whether he's going to end up being a tweener in the mold of Al Harrington or Marvin Williams. But Jones' upside and his versatility make him a potential upside pick at No. 11 -- especially if he shows the ability to play the 3 alongside David Lee.
Tom Ziller, SB Nation: #14 to Houston
Jones is another solid prospect who could go a lot higher than this. The Rockets need to continue to build a base of talent, given the roster's uncertainty.
Draft Express: #11 to Golden State
NBADraft.net: #11 to Golden State
Projections above are per last updated mock drafts: ESPN on May 5, SB Nation on May 3, Draft Express on May 4, NBADraft.net on May 5.